Kevin Durant, you're killing us.
You don't mean to be hurting Oklahoma City, of course. When you throw up all these big numbers in summer exhibition games, you don't mean to remind us what we might miss if this NBA lockout isn't resolved. When you make all these highlights, you don't want to make us think about a year without Thunder basketball.
But that's exactly what you're doing.
And it is excruciating.
That 66-point game earlier this summer at New York City's famed Rucker Park was pretty hard to handle. I mean, it was great fun watching the YouTube clip as you splashed one 3-pointer after another. You had that little no-one-can-stop-me smile on your face at the end when the fans rushed the court and ended the game.
And now comes tale of a bicoastal showdown in Washington, D.C.
The East Coast's Goodman League squared off against the West Coast's Drew League on Saturday night. With bragging rights on the line, NBA standouts filled each roster. Ty Lawson. John Wall. Brandon Jennings. DeMarcus Cousins. DeMar DeRozan.
But Durant was the game's MVP.
He scored 44 points, hit the game-winning free throws with 21 seconds left, then blocked a baseline jumper at the buzzer.
Stick the knife in a little deeper, why don't you?
In Oklahoma City, about the only guy who created more buzz during the playoffs than Durant was Harden. He blossomed during the Thunder's run to the Western Conference Finals. He became another exciting option in the basket-attacking style that Sam Presti and Scott Brooks have built this team around.
Folks in these parts can't wait to see what Harden can add to Durant and Co.
But Saturday night, Durant and Harden went at it. They guarded each other throughout the game, and reports on the ground indicate they were none too kind to each other.
At one point, Harden put a hard shoulder into Durant's chest. Durant responded with a not-so-nice forearm, but Harden came right back, leaning hard into Durant and denying him the basketball.
“I don't want to hear nothing about Kevin Durant or ‘Thunder Up',” Harden told reporters before the game. “We're enemies.”
You have to love that these locked out NBA players are doing games like this. They are largely free events, open to the public. They are held in small venues, like the 1,500-seat gym that hosted Saturday's game. It's great for fans who might never have a chance to see these guys.
It's good, too, for the players to be in such competitive games. No better way to keep sharp during the lockout than to play.
And yet, all of this a reminder of what we might miss out on should this work stoppage not be resolved.
NBA training camps open in late September, a little over a month away. A new collective bargaining agreement would have to be done in the next couple weeks for that schedule to hold. Yet, there's no sign that the two sides plan to meet any time soon, much less that a deal is eminent.
This season is going to be delayed and likely cut short, if it happens at all.
That is a hard reality to swallow.
It's made even harder by what Durant has done this summer.
He has gone from superstar to darling in Oklahoma City. If you have big games in series-clinching contests in the playoffs, you take your stardom to another level. But if you go around saying things like “I let the city down” after a less-than-stellar performance, you endear yourself to this city forever.
That's what makes all these offseason exploits a little hard to handle.
So, keep doing your thing, KD. Keep scoring in bunches. Keep making YouTube highlights. Keep doing all those things that we've seen you do so many times.
Just know that the idea of not being able to see all of that here in Oklahoma City this season feels like one of those Rucker Park 3-pointers.